Friday, August 17, 2012

Project Runway Season 10, Episode 5

This week's challenge was to work in two teams (one of six members, one of five) to create a collection of clothes that women could wear in the workplace. The winning outfits get to be in an editorial in the new "Marie Claire at Work." When the team aspect is announced, the editors treat us to a lovely montage of all the designers ranting in their interviews how much they hate team challenges.

As the winner of the previous challenge, Sonjia gets to pick the first other member of her team. Heidi draw's Nathan's name to be the first on the other team. The two teams go back and forth, with the last person added to each team responsible for picking the next.

The two teams end up being, each in picking order: Sonjia, Elena, Mellisa, Dmitry, Alicia, and Raul; and Nathan, Ven, Christopher, Fabio, and Gunnar. There are three notable items in this:

1. Christopher and Raul were apparently good friends. Christopher specifically picked Fabio over Raul since Raul and Ven don't get along, and he wanted to avoid that kind of drama.
2. Raul ended up not getting picked at all. Since he was the very last left at the end, he was assigned to the first team by default.
3. Only one man picked a woman - Dmitry picking Alicia. Only one woman picked a man - Mellisa picking Dmitry. As a result, all the women were on one team.

Raul, facing the humiliation of being eliminated, being brought back and then being one place away from eliminated again, and then getting picked last, is not in the best frame of mind for the start of the challenge and immediately irritates his team by being extremely cranky and defensive.

Gunnar, for no particular reason except for his sparkling personality, is also extremely cranky with his team. He has a number of good points about the direction the more commanding team members are taking the collection - in particular the very 80's color scheme of black, white, purple, magenta, and turquoise. But instead of speaking up, he decides to simmer in resentment and just tell it in the interview.

The volatile Elena begins her stress-induced meltdown early on, when they discover that one of the bags of fabric didn't make it back from fabric shopping. She gets more freaked out and more abusive of her teammates as the challenge goes on. By the end, at the photoshoot, their discussion devolves into screaming and the rest of them end up just walking away from Elena and not talking to her any further.

Team Six mixes up their outfits, which each designer making a couple of pieces - two shirts or two skirts, for example - instead of each making a complete look. They are working entirely in black, grey, and blue - most likely driven by the devoted-to-black duo of Mellisa and Dmitry, reunited from the first team challenge. When Tim comes by, he seems pretty OK with all of it, but not very enthusiastic.

Team Five sticks with the more usual strategy of each designer remaining in charge of his own design. Tim calls their color scheme costumey and matronly, which produces another moment of high-grade smugness from Gunnar. They pare their fabrics down to just black, white, and a printed pink and purple chiffon. It turns out that Elena and Mellisa have a nickname for Christopher, Ven, and Nathan - "the Chiffonzies" - since they use silk chiffon so frequently. Sure, they say, it drapes nicely, but most women wouldn't actually wear it to work.

Team Five:

Team Six:
  • Elena makes two tops, one of which has the same giant shoulders she always does. The other just has patches of a different fabric on the shoulder. The latter is good - the former not so much.
  • Alicia makes two pairs of pants: wide and skinny.
  • Dmitry makes a color blocked black-and-navy sheath dress. It has little cutouts along the back, which Nina claims makes it iffy for work, but Heidi defends. Well, yeah, Heidi - you're a super model!
  • Mellisa makes a blue funnel-neck dress which stands out but would personally drive me totally bananas. I think it looks a little silly but the judges love it.
  • Sonjia makes twe pencil skirts, in blue and gray stripes.
  • Raul makes a black shirt fronted with huge stiff ruffles and a leather tank top. The ruffled one draws the ire of the judges.
At the end of the runway show, it turns out that the teams have exactly equal scores! Once the judges go over their praise and criticism, they amp up the drama by asking each designer who they think should be eliminated. Fabio is first, and he tries to avoid the whole game by picking Ven, since he knows Ven has to be safe. The rest of Team Five picks Gunnar - even Gunnar himself! On Team Six, all the women pick Raul because he's the weakest designer and both the men pick Elena because she's so hard to get along with. Because men are more emotional and women are more analytical. Uh, that's the stereotype, right?

Mellisa wins, Raul is out. He sends himself off by tearing into Elena backstage, telling her he can't stand her at all and urging all the other designers to make sure she gets eliminated as soon as possible. Elena seems to have worn herself out with all her earlier yelling and simply sits in silence, taking the abuse with barely and eyeroll - at least if the editing is to be believed.

Next week, the traditional "make an outfit for a non-model woman" challenge - in which we get to see which designers are the most arrogant and shallow for whining about making clothes for someone above a size 0.

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